Koha Ditore carries an interview with Aleksandar Simic, advisor to Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. He said the autonomy that Serbia offers to Kosovo is a broad autonomy within Serbia and the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
‘This autonomy would be guaranteed with an international agreement and by powerful international actors such as the United States, EU and Russia, and would be under the umbrella of the United Nations,’ Simic was quoted as saying. ‘There are some opinions in Belgrade that this agreement would last 20 to 25 years and could then be renewed, maybe with some changes or even under the same terms.’
Simic said the substance of this autonomy would imply full legislative, executive and judicial power for Kosovo without certain elements that are important for international sovereignty and the protection of existing borders in the Balkans.
‘This means that the southern province would not have its army and that Kosovo Albanians would not be obliged to sign with the army of Serbia or that of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This would also imply a strong presence of NATO in the province,’ said Simic, adding that some other elements of state sovereignty would remain under Belgrade’s control.
According to Simic, the broad autonomy would also enable the Serb population and maybe some other communities that consider Belgrade their centre, to have special and direct connections with Belgrade, especially in areas such as education, healthcare, social welfare, culture, among others.
Simic also did not rule out the possibility that Kosovo Albanians could have their seats in Belgrade’s parliament in accordance with the number of the population.
Simic was quoted as saying that Belgrade has no illusions that Albanians in Kosovo would easily accept such autonomy. But he added that ‘history is a process in which things change and Belgrade’s position is that serious talks between Belgrade and Pristina, between Albanians and Serbs, should lead toward a possible compromise.